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Top 10 Tips on how to market your art as book covers

Posted By Tarampa Studios 4 Years Ago
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Tarampa Studios
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Creating & Marketing Free, Cheap or Fully Commercial Book Covers, Posters, Illustrations & Animated "Book Trailers"... using either iClone and/or CTA

[Now also including links to Paid & Unpaid Opportunities in that parallel industry, with grateful thanks for Reallusion's permission for me to post them all here in this thread]  

PLEASE NOTE: this thread was originally in response to a request for more details from Pete on how to break into this market as a complete newbie. But there are so many talented artists here with iClone & CTA, I thought what the heck, I'd write up my reply publicly in case it helps any other friends who may also be wondering...  

Yes, as an iClone/CTA artist, marketing your work for all three sectors of the book industry or for movie posters and "book trailers" can be fun and rewarding no matter which path you take. But for different reasons.  And as an artist/animator, it can be highly valuable to "get in good" with tomorrows stars by sticking close to their own shortcuts to the top.

How do I know?
Short answer: Trust me.... (insert evil daffy duck laughter) 

Less sinister response: 15 years of trekking the rough roads and highways of the book industry, from the depressing depths of rejection to the giddy peaks of commercial fandom, (including long loving embraces with 3 of "The Big Six", with several detours through dense jungles of mid-list publishers and holidays on the tropical beaches of self-publishing, and now also reaching for the stars to achieve a lifelong goal of learning to animate my own stories for the most accessible media platforms of all) - has taught me a few things.

First, that many people have far more talent than me, but seem to be stuck at their own crossroads, or lost out there in the wilderness.

Second, that using my own flickery little candle to light one for somebody else never diminishes my own. Quite the opposite, the shadowy corner of our world becomes brighter for us both.  (... so says our old buddy Budda. Not that I'm a follower, but our paths do cross occasionally, at which time he usually laughs at the state I'm in...).  

Third, and arguably the most enjoyable: that some people never listen to advice anyway, even if it's flashing in huge neon letters at their next fork in the road. But it's great to watch them blunder off into a minefield, and being able to shout at their corpse "I told you so!" 

Seriously though, there's strength in numbers, inspiration in gatherings of creative thinkers and solace in a quiet corner with friends, so here are:  

Not all at once, obviously. I do make a living writing suspense, after all. 

(Cue more evil laughter... lightning flashes... thunder crashes... )

Tip 1: Tread the Freebie Forums for Indies with care. e.g. Wattpad is a famously free resource for fledgling writers, book cover artists, and animators of book trailers - yes, that's a thing. And it can even include music video artists. (e.g. here's one for my MA-Rated pen-name that's chalked up a few hundred thousand views while the books themselves have been off collecting awards for science fiction and fantasy)...



But also beware, if the content you choose to post is a mish-mash of genres and target age-groups then you can often repel significant portions of your potential market who may adore one style and be totally repulsed/offended by another.

NOTE:  The goal of Wattpad (and other similar sites I'll be mentioning), is to share *all* styles of writing and fan art for free to readers... but many writers have no skills in cover art, "book trailer" animations or background music for their audio-editions, so there's always somebody posting a notice that they're willing to pay... 

Sub Tip 1A: Posting a competition on Wattpad (or Goodreads) for authors to win a free book cover or animation is a fast way to find talented writers who inspire you. But make sure their entries are limited to 50 words or less, and still manage to include details about who, where, when, why things happen in the part of the story they want to show int he trailer. And the ads often attract the attention of those who are also willing to pay. 

Sub Tip 1B: Members range from ages 8 to 108, but you'd be wise to judge *all* by their talent, not their lifespan or language skills. Lest you need reminding of that 15 year old who sold her work to the publishers of Harry Potter for a million bucks and now has a 9 book deal.  And there are many similar success stories, most of whom love to take their favourite artists/animators along with them to continue a winning combination for the climb up the ladder. 

Sub Tip 1C: the membership is so large, that even newbies can build vast followings of fans in weeks to months, depending on how often you post, and how many other similarly-styled members you Like/Friend/Fan. It can be exhausting, just trying to keep up, and obviously talent is the most valuable factor, but it also pays to know your genres, choose your favourite & specialise. 

Sub Tip 1D; If you want to specialise in more that one style at *any* of the free writer sites that I'll be mentioning - consider a pen-name, or batching similar works into their own albums, but launching and developing only one at first (for reasons too numerous to mention). 

Sub tip 1E: The most popular genres on Wattpad are fantasy (especially supernatural fantasy of the vampire/werewolf/beastman variety), horror, romance, and virtually anything spelled with more than 3 X's... and by "popular" I mean savagely starving... so don't say anything to insult their favourite genres, or you'll win stalkers for life... Luckily, I've managed to dodge that bullet - so far - which is a miracle, considering how often I can upset a whole crowd just by walking in... but if you can post replies with clean, kind humour and no ambiguities their membership can also be quite forgiving. And then there is one genre that seems to trump all the others, if you happen to have been blessed by the rare gift, and that's comedy... or else you can just worker harder for longer to bleed and sweat more like me and most of my friends - including Sara Gruen, who fought like a true soldier to polish her work amid the grimy trenches of newbie forums for years before cracking the market with this charming record breaker

BEWARE: Pirates are rife, often unknowingly. e.g. A scary percent of members are too young/inexperienced to even know that copyright is a word in the dictionary. But the largest portion are just passionate fans who share their work for the love of it, and do so knowing it will never sell, so the rules rarely apply to them, except when they mistakenly upload "borrowed" music or clips to youtube to advertise their fan-fics.  

Sub Tip 1F: If you dream of selling anything to a major publisher/studio one day, then don't engage with, or do any work for members who have already posted pirated clips or music because those major publishers & studios are watching the net to generate and maintain their blacklists of creators to avoid. Yes, they really have them, and you don't want your name on those lists, or you might as well brand the word "reject" on your forehead. 

Sub tip 1G: Sometimes members can be wrong about writing something that think will never sell. e.g. A friend started with fan fiction for Stargate Atlantis, and was subsequently contracted by MGM to write 3 official books to provide backstory for one of the main characters; Rodney... And more success stories are posted on the Wattpad homepage faster than most mere mortals can keep up. But compared to the staggering number of members, it's still barely drops in the proverbial ocean. 

which brings me to the coolest sub-tip for Newbies: 

SubTip 1H (H for hottest Tip, haha): Many major publishers and film studios are also sick of waiting for agents to supply the "next big thing" so they now actively seek out the most popular-indies at several of the free resource sites, including Wattpad. That's also how, why and where the author of "50 Shades" first came to light, even though most major publishers/studios/agents would have sent rejection slips if they didn't have the proof and page-visit-statistics that Watpad provide free of charge to all members. 

And thus we come to the end of Tip 1.

So if your brain feels ready to explode, go take time to play... and stay tuned for Tip 2, which many newbie illustrators have used to become pros almost instantly... 

[Thunder crashes... Lightning flashes... Pan to darkening sky as storm approaches... and Fade Out] 


Anita, aka "Bleetz" the Toon Wrangler @ Tarampa Studios
SYS: Win 8.1,  64-bit, i7-4770 CPU @3.4GHz,  
32GB RAM, Intel(R)Graphics 4600 & nVIDIA GTX1060 TI 



Edited
4 Years Ago by Bleetz
planetstardragon
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Bleetz (6/15/2015)

[Thunder crashes... Lightning flashes... Pan to darkening sky as storm approaches... and Fade Out] 


i was seriously hoping to read something that rhymed with crashes and flashes! hrmpf!

thank you for this post,  much appreciated by myself Cool



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planetstardragon (6/16/2015)
...i was seriously hoping to read something that rhymed with crashes and flashes! hrmpf!... 


LOL, a "near rhyme" counts as a rhyme when you're struggling to avoid being cheesy... but since you asked for it;

 Thunder crashes... Lightning flashes... Pan to darkening sky as cold rain splashes... and Fade Out

Haha Tongue




Anita, aka "Bleetz" the Toon Wrangler @ Tarampa Studios
SYS: Win 8.1,  64-bit, i7-4770 CPU @3.4GHz,  
32GB RAM, Intel(R)Graphics 4600 & nVIDIA GTX1060 TI 



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Thank you!! BigGrin

http://www.gifvault.com/img/2014/3/applause-gif-595-16709-hd-wallpapers.jpg



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Doh!!

I just discovered a very old pinned post by Reallusion which makes me worry that I may have broken forum rules by posting this here with links which may (possibly?) be construed as advertising for other services, even though they are intended purely as examples to help other members...

so I've asked Peter for clarification...

and I also apologise in advance if the whole thread needs to be deleted without further notice. 





Anita, aka "Bleetz" the Toon Wrangler @ Tarampa Studios
SYS: Win 8.1,  64-bit, i7-4770 CPU @3.4GHz,  
32GB RAM, Intel(R)Graphics 4600 & nVIDIA GTX1060 TI 



Peter (RL)
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Bleetz (6/16/2015)
Doh!!

I just discovered a very old pinned post by Reallusion which makes me worry that I may have broken forum rules by posting this here with links which may (possibly?) be construed as advertising for other services, even though they are intended purely as examples to help other members...

so I've asked Peter for clarification...

and I also apologise in advance if the whole thread needs to be deleted without further notice. 


Hi Bleetz,

There is no problem with the post as it stands. Promoting other companies or commercial endeavours is not normally allowed, but if supplying links to other sites can benefit our customers then we are fine with this. I would ask that if you wish to add to this discussion with further tips, please do so in this same thread. As long as there are not multiple posts containing links to other companies, then please feel free continue to add any further information you think will be helpful to iClone users. Smile



                                                                

Peter
Forum Administrator

www.reallusion.com


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Many thanks Peter! 

Greatly appreciated. Smile 





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Though I knew it was all in good spirit, I waited for an official clarification. I am glad it got clarified.
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well if it means anything,  Bleetz is one of my favorite new members Wink

i don't play favorites though,  so don't get it twisted!  you simply make me smile a lot,  nothing more, nothing less!




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Thanks PSD... 
(I'll slip that bribe for the compliment in the post some time next... cough... cough)

Seriously though, here's my first:

Example of a *Current* Paid Opportunity with a reputable small publisher:

Uncanny Magazine pays $100 for reprint art...  

This ad for their most recent call for submissions came to me only yesterday from an insider so they don't get much fresher than this. But I couldn't post it yesterday until I was sure it was okay with RL... 

And if you take a look at their previous cover images/ internal artwork, you'll see and understand why I think there are many iCloners here who should be a wonderful fit... but many of the regular opportunities for other publishers that I'll be posting later can also apply equally to CTA artists, with exactly the same hints and tips. 

http://uncannymagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/cover_issue_four_med-340x491.jpg

So here's how we can also use this ad as a cool example to slip more sub-tips to you: 

Reprint Art = art that has already been published somewhere else... That includes everywhere from online, hardcover or swept in sand-patterns on the moon... So long as it doesn't breach copyrights that have been purchased wholly by a client - e.g. business logos - then many publishers will pay for art that has already been published and shared by other magazines, even their competitors sometimes - because there's simply not enough really good artists who know how to submit to the industry.  

And this is mainly because every publisher has their own submission guidelines, but luckily there is only
One Major Rule in this Universe...
I mean "Industry": And that is: Follow the submission guidelines for each publisher strictly... and by strictly, I mean *****strictly*****... you know, like a feint map through a minefield at night with a faulty torch light, where you need to really strain to see and understand each and every word and dot-point, because one wrong step means instant death with your guts splattered all over your hordes of spectators.... which now also includes me... and my seat and popcorn are both warm and ready. ... 

Reason: Because nobody loves the written word more than publishers, (in every language)... so if you can't follow their most basic instructions, then it will cost them far too much to clean up all the rest of your writing to suit their particular style of publication... which doesn't apply to artists as much, obviously, because the magic of this craft is conveyance of powerful messages in comparative silence...

But it does mean that if they ask for a link to your portfolio, then that's exactly what you give them - and it better be a direct link to the specific album of your work that best suits their genre... Not a homepage, or mish-mashed collection that's loaded with other pics (which they will perceive as being a waste of their time)... because publishers need to consider so many thousands of submissions each week, it's like a never-ending flood... so they are trained to filter it all down, by rejecting everything that can be weeded out and rejected easily for the slightest problems, and then dealing only with the left-overs, which they call the "Slush Pile"... and within that slushpile, writers usually get rejected within the first 100 words... 

So equate that to your artwork, where every pic is supposed to be worth a thousand words... and you should hopefully appreciate why they resent being bombarded by irrelevant details... so no matter how much you just *know* they'll also love your artwork for other genres.. they can't afford to deal with such inconsiderate time wasters.... so if you really must slip it to them... stick a menu column inside each each of your albums with a cover image for links to your other albums... e.g. horror/romance/childrens/historical or SF...

NOTE: SF = Speculative Fiction... which includes, science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, horror, steampunk etc... but if you have enough for albums in each genre, then I'd suggest it's worth naming them separately. 

And never fear: if a publisher loves the sample link you send, then even without any other links, nothing can stop them from hunting you down for more... In a future post, I can also share a few tips that have helped me get my work on the desks of - and accepted by - major publishers who flatly refuse to consider anything that doesn't come through an agent... which also works for several illustrators I know.

BOTTOM LINE -  
The *only* time you can send emails with image attachments (or embeds) to a publisher (or agent for illustrators) is when they specifically ask for it - either in their guidelines for artists, (see their webpages)... or in their reply to you, specifically when you approach them that way. 

Crikey, that's it for this post, and we're not even up to the official Tip 2 yet... LOL 


Anita, aka "Bleetz" the Toon Wrangler @ Tarampa Studios
SYS: Win 8.1,  64-bit, i7-4770 CPU @3.4GHz,  
32GB RAM, Intel(R)Graphics 4600 & nVIDIA GTX1060 TI 



Edited
4 Years Ago by Bleetz



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